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COVID-19 numbers ebb and flow in San Diego County

San Diego’s latest coronavirus numbers show a pandemic that is rolling along at a pace of 500 to 600 new cases per day, occasionally spiking almost to 1,000.

It is a level of activity that shows the virus is still spreading, though existing levels of vaccine-created and natural immunity appear to be keeping the kind of hockey stick curve from forming in the week-by-week trend that everyone has learned to keep a wary eye on since early 2020.

The state’s latest composite estimate of the virus’s effective transmission number is 1.16 in San Diego, a bit higher than the state average of 1.12. The number uses statistical analysis of recent cases to calculate how rapidly coronavirus is spreading. Numbers greater than 1 mean that each case is generating more than one additional case, indicating that the pandemic is growing.

A total of 907 new cases were reported Wednesday, the most recent day for which data is available. That’s slightly higher than the 837 new cases reported on May 4, seven days earlier. Over the past week, the lowest daily total reported was 516 Sunday.

These numbers, as experts have explained in recent months, are ever more incomplete because an increasing percentage of coronavirus testing is now conducted at home using over-the-counter tests with results that are generally not reported to public health departments.

The number of confirmed and suspected COVID-19-related hospitalizations can be a more accurate real-time indicator of local coronavirus impact because hospitals keep careful track of who fills their beds, and what ails them. Local hospitalization numbers, largely flat through most of April, increased a bit in early May, topping 121 Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday after cruising along in the teens for weeks.

Overall, though, impact on hospitals has been slight, with current numbers 12 times lower than they were at the peak of the winter Omicron surge, suggesting that currently-circulating coronavirus variants, while able to generate hundreds of additional cases per day, so far have not shown an ability to crater critical health care resources.



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